Writing, reading and a short story

If you have followed my blog from the beginning, you may have recognized I have posted on consecutive days. Since May of this year, my blog posts journey has fallen off a month or more once or twice because I was stationary to focus on writing and editing short stories.

If you are still reading, you will become a beta reader. What’s a beta reader? The first to read a writer’s writings who solicits feedback.

Posting what I have written has been a journey for me, and I like to recognize a few instrumental people in my creative writing journey. First is my creative writing teacher, Jeanette Batko, Key West Florida’s painter, extraordinaire, Pam Hobbs. Fellow writers and bloggers Judy Dykstra-Brown, Eileen, Retiree Diary, and of course my full-time travel sister, Sue Ann Jaffarain.

Each of the people I have mentioned has and continues to inspire me in my journey as I learn to balance my hobbies with writing, reading and blogging.

So, with that said, I now share with the rest of the world a short story.

***********************

The wisdom of four dating questions

At 1:35 am, Alberta Glasner sat comfortably, half-asleep, in her favorite chair in her living room. She is the ever-vigilant mother awaiting the arrival of her three adult twin daughters, all born within twenty minutes of one another.

Corina will marry in two days and was returning from celebrating her last two days as a bachelorette with her sisters, two days before her wedding.

Alberta was startled hearing her girls enter the house laughing and giggling. A smile grew across Alberta’s face knowing her babies were home safely.

The girls entered the house from the garage into the kitchen. Entering by birth order, first-born Cassidy opened the refrigerator door to stare at its contents. Second-born Carla reaches over Cassidy for the pitcher of water, with the youngest Corina reaching for the freshly squeezed lemonade.

Cassidy closes the refrigerator door, telling Corina to pour her a glass as she walks to the doorway to peer into the living room to see their mother in her favorite chair with her hands resting in her lap, holding a pencil and notepad.

All three daughters soon enter the living room, kissing their mother’s cheek with an embracing hug.

Cassidy and Carla sat on the couch, and Corinna handed Cassidy the glass of lemonade and sat on the floor, legs crossed in front of her mother. Cassidy asked, what was she writing on the notepad?
Corina quickly states. “The final guest list for my wedding?

Alberta answers with a smile, no, I’m writing my anniversary love letter to your father.

Carla quickly states;
I told you, mother, you should compile those letters into a book, revealing to the world the greatest love and marriage you and dad share.

Alberta answers,
No, I don’t think so. I will leave these letters for you girls to read to my grand and great-grand-babies as I have read them all to you.

Remember these words reveals the wisdom of friendship, love, and commitment in marriage.

All of the girls nod their heads in agreement when Corina asks, mom, when did you know you were in love with dad?

The daughters looking towards their mother and in unison asks? Yes, Mom, tell us, when did you know you were in love with dad?

Alberta’s smile grows big, and she begins to giggle, then sits up in her favorite chair to start her story.

Well, girls, you all remember me telling you about one of the happiest days of my life. The day I graduated from the University of Maine on May 16, 1974.

I was, oozing with happiness, like a star shining brighter than a thousand suns. I held my glass framed diplomas in my hand, describing my Bachelors’s degrees in English and 17th-Century Literature History.

I had earlier applied for a graduate scholarship and was accepted to attend the creative writing program at the University of Iowa.

I can remember standing in the atrium of the auditorium with your grandmother and my boyfriend Johnathan, your dad, and his family.

Johnathan had graduated with an engineering degree the same day, and as we posed for photos, your dad put his arm around me, leaned in towards my left ear, and whispered, “Alberta, will you marry me?”

I remember smiling for the camera yelling “cheese” when his proposal caused a feeling of shock that crept from within my soul and overwhelmed the happy emotions of the moment.

I know we still have the photos somewhere in the house showing the before proposal smile and the deer caught in the headlight look on my face.

For some reason, his question ignited thoughts of my participation in the New York City’s Women’s Strike for Peace and Equality March that took place on August 26, 1970.
I remember how the march inspired me to further my education, and every birth control pill I took made me feel like an empowered, liberated feminist.

Your father’s marriage proposal was not the question I sought or expected. Your father and I had discussed how we would finish our graduate degrees and consider marriage but remain boyfriend and girlfriend no matter what.

Now your grandmother’s generation was the opposite. Since I turned eighteen, she waited patiently with bated breath for me to be married, produce grandbabies before, during, and especially after graduating college.

But, I’ll admit the marriage proposal idea felt like a distant dream, one I thought of when I played with my dolls as a child.

I did not answer your father’s proposal right away, as his voice echoed in my ears and my mind. We began walking into the parking lot when I started considering my life’s accomplishments before graduation day.

I recalled suffering a tragic and traumatic day when the police arrived at our home to take my father away, leaving my mother and me alone when I was nine years old.

Later that year, on my tenth birthday, my father was convicted of possessing expensive items that did not belong to him. He never returned to our home and mother, and I never went to visit him.

Your grandmother, bless her soul. (Mimicking the sign of the cross across her chest.)
She filled the emotional loss of my dad with numerous male relationships, her weekly consumption of one or two gallons of Seagrams Gin, and slowly evolved into a functioning alcoholic, using prescription and illegal drugs as appetizers, all to combat her depression.

Fortunately, our neighbors saw what was happening from a distance and called family services, and Ms. Gloria Herd arrived at her home.

She became the beacon of light for my future.
Ms. Herd talked with mom and me, but her most important suggestion was to read books at the library and maintain a written journal to express my feelings about my life.
She brought me my first writing journal, and I began writing daily every day since the fifth grade.
I would go to the library after school every day, opening to close on Saturdays and half days on Sundays.
The library became my babysitter while your grandmother entertained daytime dating opportunities.
But, when I was twelve years old, your grandmother stayed at the library with me all day one Saturday for the first time.
She began buying me writing journals, and she began joining me at the library after school until closing.

Journalling the details of my life and describing my feelings helped me navigate my life as your grandmother slowly achieved sobriety by my thirteenth birthday. My journal writings guided me into and through puberty to reach adulthood and become a college graduate.

We posed for more photographs under a tree in the parking lot when your father, again leaned towards me, whispered into my ear, asking, “Alberta, will you marry me?”

This time the words sounded so enchantingly pure of heart. I turned towards Johnathan, smiled, and stared at him. My thoughts drifted to the second semester of college and the image of me angrily writing in my journal about a horrible traumatic dating experience I survived.
At 1:00 am Sunday, when the date ended 4-hours earlier,
I finished my writing frenzy with four specific dating questions I would ask every man before we dated.

For the rest of my college years, whenever a guy asked me on a date. I presented them with my questions, which provided the most perplexed looks ever seen on a young man’s face that was hilariously priceless.
I sifted through boys to discover men who honorably sought my attention.

The following dating questions were.

1) Do you have a great relationship with your mother, father, and siblings?

2) Are you a romantic?

3) Are you willing to say I’m sorry and sincerely apologize when you are wrong?

4) Will you treat me the same way you want your sister treated on a first date?

The fourth question sent many would-be dates scurrying away.

Part two soon:

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